As thousands of businesses across the UK prepare to return to their usual work environments over the coming months, a leading HR software specialist is urging HR teams not to forget the importance of including financial wellbeing in their post-COVID-19 HR strategies.
The advice forms part of a free guide published by The Access Group aimed at helping HR professionals better support their organisations as they navigate the return to work.
It follows an Access survey which revealed that 38 per cent of HR professionals believe COVID-19 has led to less financial security among their staff, along with recent ONS figures stating that more than 6m Brits are concerned about their jobs and more than 5m are worried about their household finances as a result of COVID-19.
Last year, money worries cost the UK economy £120bn and 17.5million lost hours of work. In addition, one in four employees stated they’d lost sleep due to money worries and 59 per cent stated that financial concerns had prevented them from performing at their best.
Included in the new guide are practical suggestions for employers to help support staff experiencing financial security worries such as the introduction of financial planning workshops, on-demand pay, expert articles and webinars and employee assistance programmes.
Explaining more, Damian Oldham, HCM divisional director at The Access Group, said: “The past few months have seen HR teams face ever-increasing pressures to galvanise teams and adapt to new ways of working such as remote working and team furloughs. But it’s important to remember the key to further enhancing the employee experience lies in offering real tangible solutions that go beyond just supporting staff as they work from home, and financial, health and wellbeing strategies play a big part in that.
“Financial security can have a real impact on mental health and wellness and at a time when there is already so much uncertainty across the UK. The need for practical support for staff experiencing money worries has never been more pertinent. In addition, ensuring employers maintain open channels of communication through cloud-based solutions and self-service portals will play a big part in providing a clear route for employees to report issues or absence.”
He added: “As businesses start to see the real impact the pandemic has had on team motivation levels, mental health and general wellbeing, if not addressed head-on, organisations could run the risk of further disruption and poor performance. Yet, according to our survey, just 23 per cent of HR departments have a clear plan to manage the transition to the ‘new normal’ once lockdown measures have been lifted.
“Though no one yet knows just how far reaching the economic and social repercussions of COVID-19 will be, it’s clear to see it will have a lasting impact on the way people approach life both inside and outside work. As a result, HR teams will face even tougher challenges to help teams through that. This isn’t about simply addressing short-term challenges, but rather about preparing the groundwork for employee wellbeing for years to come.”